Marriage and Ribs

Orient Express
Orient Express 25th wedding anniversary

Marriage is a wonderful thing, I would like to say we have never had an argument, fell out or disagreed but that is far from the truth. What I can say though, is that we still hold hands when walking and we still say a prayer together every morning and night at bed time, and this year will be 30 years married. We take turns, I say prayers on odd dates she does even dates, we remember whose day it is because she says that I’m “odd”. Yes we are a church going pair, its no secret.

Ribs and marriage fit together well. The first married couple were Adam and Eve. The symbolism in the bible is that God, as his last creation, created Eve from a rib taken from Adams side. This is beautiful and very fitting, that God saved his greatest creation, woman, till the very last.

But why use the rib?

“woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” (Matthew Henry)

There are some folk that think of this as a literal surgical removal of a rib, but for me its very much symbolism and men don’t have 1 less ribs than women, we all have the same! There are however some medical symbolism’s to be explored.

“The function of ribs is threefold. First, they provide protection for the lungs and heart. The ribs more or less form a “cage” around these very important organs. Second, they are one of the few bones that continue to make red marrow (and thus blood cells) in the adult. Third, they serve as attachment points for chest muscles involved in respiration.”(online dictionary)

So God chose to use something that protected Adams heart and lungs, the most vital of organs and also bones that produced Adams “life blood” Likewise Mrs RJR protects my heart I have entrusted her with its key, she has also become the air that I breath and the life in my blood.

But the symbolism goes deeper, explore with me Adam and Eves relationship

There is a perfect unity between these two mortals; they are “one flesh.”  The word rib expresses the ultimate in proximity, intimacy, and identity. When Jeremiah speaks of “keepers of my tsela (rib)” he means bosom friends, inseparable companions. Such things are to be taken figuratively, when we are told not that the woman was made out of the rib or from the rib, but that she was the rib, a powerful metaphor. So likewise “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”, “and they shall cleave together as one flesh”—the condition is that of total identity. “Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Hugh Nibley)

In the case above the word cleave is to cling together not the alternate meaning of splitting apart. Splitting however does fit into the story too. In pre-Wycliffe translations, the word rib is taken to mean side, or half, suggesting that God used half of man, not just a rib or 1/24th to make women… this would mean that man and wife are only whole, when united together.

So although marriage may be on the decline I am happy to report mine isn’t. Although we have had arguments and fallen out at times, we have always been equals, partners in the true sense. Of course it helps that I married up!

For more about marrying the girl of my dreams (twice) check out this blog post…

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